Friday, 11 June 2010
Carlos Del Moral  (Getty Images)
Carlos Del Moral (Getty Images)
Spain's Carlos Del Moral put himself in the frame for a first European Tour win by storming into the clubhouse lead midway through the second round of the Estoril Open de Portugal.

The 24 year old completed a brilliant back nine 31 at Penha Longa Golf Club en route to a second round 65.

That left Del Moral, who won the Texbond Open on the Challenge Tour in 2006, 12 under par at the halfway stage.

“I've played beautifully these last two days, and putted very well,” said Del Moral.

“I've started working a lot more on my fitness levels away from the course. I've started training hard, because that's what all the top players do.

“I feel much better out on the course now. It's had an effect much sooner than I'd thought, but I'm very happy. Hopefully it can continue having the same effect for the next two days and the rest of the season.

The Spaniard was in doubt as to which part of his game sparked that stunning run on the back nine.

“I made a lot of clutch putts, particularly on the back nine,” he added.

“So my putting definitely made the difference between a good round and a great round today. I'm going to go for a run on the beach this afternoon, and hopefully I'll lose a few more pounds and go even lower tomorrow!”

Two behind is England's Steve Webster, whose last European Tour title came on Portuguese soil at the 2007 Portugal Masters.

The 35 year old World Number 189 turned in 34 after starting at the tenth then registered a hattrick of birdies from the first, although a further gain at the sixth was cancelled out with his only bogey of the round at the next.

“I've not played brilliantly this year so far, but I've brought a new putter with me this week and I seem to have found something with my putting stroke,” said Webster.

“So it was nice to make a few 20-footers for a change, instead of just hitting it close all the time. Six birdies today tells its own story.”

Overnight leaders Luke Goddard and Damien McGrane both endured mixed fortunes on day two.

Irishman McGrane looked on course to set the clubhouse target again as he advanced to 11 under for the week with six to play.

But the former Volvo China Open winner came unstuck at the 434 yard fourth when his wayward approach finished on the root of a tree and forced him to play away from the flag, leading to a double bogey six.

A birdie at the ninth, his last, repaired some of the damage - his two under 70 leaving him tied with Webster on ten under par.

English Amateur Champion and Walker Cup star Goddard, 22, started well with an outward 32 but a double bogey at the par four 11th - he eagled it in the opening round - was followed by another dropped shot two holes later and he remained eight under with three to play.

England's Robert Rock and former Ryder Cup Scot Andrew Coltart hit matching 67s to take a share of fourth on nine under, with Argentina's Daniel Vancsik on the same mark with one hole left to play.

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke looked to have safely secured his place in the weekend's action with a 20 foot birdie putt at the last leaving him two under after a 67 - eight shots better than his opening effort. The cut looked likely to fall at level par.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1BJÖRN, ThomasDEN18-23
2GREEN, RichardAUS18-18
4ROCK, RobertENG18-14
5MCGRANE, DamienIRL18-13
T6CLARKE, DarrenNIR18-12
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